CCFA Releases Research Progress & Goals

April 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm Leave a comment

Today, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America released its “Challenges in IBD Research” report outlining what’s been accomplished in the field of research over the past five years and what they hope to accomplish in the future. The last report was released in 2008 and since then, lots has been accomplished in the field of research.

The previous report detailed findings from 2004-2008, including the identification of genes for IBD; a better understanding of the relationship between the immune system and gut bacteria; the discovery of cells that drive and regulate immune responses; and a better understanding of how the immune system keeps stability in the lining of the gut. All of the below information has been pulled from the study’s Lay Summary.

What’s New?

Several new findings and advances were made in IBD research from 2008-2012, as detailed in this new report. Some of the findings and advances include:

  • Progress in identifying genes for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, with over 160 genes identified to date;
  • New technology that allows for the identification of species and groups of bacteria that may be involved in IBD;
  • Large studies were initiated to see if there are any clinical or biological tests that can predict outcomes or risks in pediatric IBD patients;
  • Registries have been started throughout the U.S. to determine whether there are complications of medical therapies used in treatment of pediatric IBD; and
  • Large studies provided a better understanding of the risks and benefits of medical and surgical therapies for some IBD groups.

What’s Next?

The researchers who worked on “Challenges in IBD Research” also identified priorities for the next five years in research. The new priorities are related to eight focus areas including epidemiology and the role of environmental factors; IBD diagnoses; optimizing medical therapy; genetics; microbiome (gut bacteria); adaptive immunity; and epithelial cell biology.

Here are the priorities that researchers will be working on over the next several years:

  • Identify tools that will predict how aggressive different cases of Crohn’s and UC will be and whether or not there will be complications and how patients will respond to different treatments;
  • Create an understanding of how environmental factors increase the risk or progression of IBD;
  • Determine which environmental triggers initiate, maintain and/or reactivate disease;
  • Develop further understanding of the interactions between genes, bacteria, different cells, and innate and adaptive immune responses that may influence the stability of the gut lining versus inflammation; and
  • Determine best treatment approaches by using studies that directly compare medical therapies (comparative effectiveness studies).

So What Does This All Mean?

Essentially, it means that great strides have been made to understand the relationship between genetics and IBD, IBD development, and new therapies in IBD. It is obvious that there are certain genes that can be tied to inflammatory bowel diseases. It also means that people are beginning to try and really understand the relationship between gut bacteria and IBD.

Ultimately, while a lot has been done, more research needs to be done to get closer to reaching the ultimate goal of CCFA: finding a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

You can read the full report here.


Entry filed under: General Disease, Genetics, IBD News, Treatment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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